Tuesday, 7 October 2014

If you want to CONNECT with a potential customer, try not being fascinated with your own self-importance!

I received a yawnfully boring communication from a company 
wanting me to switch over to their insurance services.
There was the usual mention of a commitment to caring, an unrivaled 
service, we're cheaper, we're blah blah blah.
The typical, nonsensical, waste-of-money communications.  
And how was it signed?
The Customer Acquisition and Brand Manager.
Oooh la bloody la.
Instead of bonding, connecting, finding out more about me and 
how important I was as a potential customer, the egomaniac here was 
intent in advertising her fascination with her own importance.
The big desk with the big title does NOTHING for the customer.
Because, how exactly was I being SERVED here?
With heaped helpings of bombast and self-importance.
I wasn't given any kind of demonstration as to how I would benefit,
how I could sample the service. Reasons as to why it was in my best
interest to switch.
All I received was a demonstration and sampling of hierarchal 
superiority and jargon filled insanity that obviously meant much
more to the company and to the person signing the letter, than it did to me. I'm only a
possible customer who has now been forever turned off by the pomp, the preening and
deliberate show of self consumed importance.
Oh dear.
How much monetary waste can be tracked back by such foolishness
across the land, is a project that doesn't need much thinking about.
Look in your post box, your email inbox, the ads in the magazines,
newspapers and publications everywhere and you'll get your answer;
This bragadocios, self-importance communication disease, is...
EVERYWHERE... across the breadth and depth of the land,
across almost all businesses, industries and categories.
Across almost all professions, leaders, communicators and marketers.
When you break it down, the customer doesn't really give two hoots
about your credentials or your certificates or your ability to
please and impress.
Here's the one question your customer or potential customer
wants to know - "...can you or your product or service
help me solve my problem and bring me the promised benefits that accrue
because of solving it! "
What's beautiful about that question is that it leaves no room for 
one being fascinated about themselves and who they are.
(No pompous, self-important or big desk title, here. Just a simple -- would you like
my communications to help make you more money and have you
connect more with your existing clients?)

Monday, 21 July 2014

What if your 50k Customers, PAID newsletter subscribers or members, were ZAPPED?

How would your life be if you had 50 thousand PAID subscribers to your publication, subscription services or membership?

With huge deposits of cash pouring in each and every month.

Absolutely like clockwork.

Life would be pretty rosy, right?

But, what happens if your subscriber rate, tanks, crumbles, suffers a heart attack... what then?


And what happens if you resurrect the publication, but now, the subscriber rate and the publication is perceived as just another commodity amongst a bunch of commodity publications?


The Rosengarten Report had, in it's peak to 2008, over fifty thousand paid subscribers to its restaurant and food guide publication.


It was the bees knees.

The publication was hailed by James Beard (Google him) as the best written food publication in the world.   
If you were lured into the publication, you'd want to eat it the page it was printed on.

The publication was THAT good.

But why?

Here's the secret ingredient.

The recipe for their success.

Now I'm not 100% sure of this but much of the content was written by Gary Bencivenga, the best copywriter (salesman in print) in the world at that time - he's retired now.

Some of his special reports and written pieces for the company were devastating masterpieces in persuasion, gluing you to the spot, making your tummy rumble and your taste buds drool. 

David Rosengarten suffered major health problems and the publication closed down for a number of years.


Now, with health of the owner better, there's an online version of the non paid for newsletter.

It came out late 2012.

Sadly, It's NOTHING like the original publication.

It's weak.

It's lacklustre.

For me, it's instantly throw-away-able.

How so?

The writer.

They've gone cheap.

They've slayed the golden goose and have not replaced it with the same money producing, customer attention readership magic that a communication-in-print-specialist like Bencivenga could create.
Instead, they've hired some 3rd or 4th rate communicator whose skill is in creating a 'so so' experience for the reader. 

What tells us the experience isn't a great one? 

A few examples; 

I'm not raving about it.

I'm not hailing the positives.

I'm not drooling over the screen, not googling the recipes, not hunting down the recommended suppliers, not becoming a member, not itching and eager to to wait for the free online newsletter publication version to drop into my inbox. 

And look, we all know good writing, incredible persuasive and compelling writing when we read it.

The difference in the quality of writing in this newsletter probably amounted to some really sizeable numbers.

The Rosengarten people didn't do much except hire mediocrity with a CAPITAL M.

What kind of written communicators have you engaged? 


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

TomTom Twittery & Tomfoolery

Seen or heard the incredibly dumb ads for TOMTOM's navigation systems?

There's around 30-45 seconds of stupid, soap opera type drama, which has NOTHING to do with the TOMTOM system. The call to action, the response mechanism for the listener to make the next move, is woefully inept, pathetic in fact.

Now let's watch the sequence at play here;

Company hires ad agency to create the ads and promotions.

Ad agency has their creative bods let loose on the deliverables.

The 'creative' gets done.

It has to get signed off.

And that's either the client has to agree everything or agency is given license and authority to create, deliver and SEND without any other conversation.

So, the ad piece, the script, the promo piece has had to have gone through the fingers and brains of a number of people BEFORE it gets the green light go-ahead and within earshot of the prospective customer.

Oh dear.

There doesn't seem to be any kind of standards being adhered to here, except BAD ones, by many in the people chain.

It's a mystery as to what kind of 'checklist' questions the ad agency creatives, go through.

Here are a few checklist questions to help those hapless souls; (and others who may be in that same situation)

1. What do we want this communication to do? (what is our most wanted response?)  

2. Does the communication piece do that? (Does it fall in line with the answer to question 1?)
3. What in the communication piece do we need to chop that doesn't match up to question 1?

Those 3 simple questions will help create much cash-flow and SAVE many a promotion from being an almighty, fatal flop. (Of course, this'll only be true for those with open ears and having the ability to adopt, adapt and apply what works)   
(It can also MAKE and SAVE, jobs!)


Wednesday, 4 June 2014

How to Fix Tesco's Royal Screw Up

If you know how to fix the problems in your OWN Biz, you'll carve out stealth like money solutions for Tesco, also.
Far fetched?
No, not really.
Because what is Tesco?
Nothing more than a provider of goods and services to people who buy them. Though, done on a grander scale than most businesses.
If you switched on your favourite media news source today - June 4th 2014 - you may have heard that Tesco has tossed away around 25 million in sales...EVERY WEEK... for the last quarter!
No eye adjustments needed.
There are 1 million LESS visits to Tesco a week than compared to last quarter.
They've got Aldi chomping up a section of the market.
So, what is Philip Clarke, Tesco MD, to do?
Well, first, he's got to do away with the numbskull' advisers' he depends on to fix the problems.
Because, what reportedly came out of Clarke's mouth today, couldn't have been of his own making. (Or could it!)
He says Tesco is going to increase the ante to promote and sell a whole lot of other items; insurance, banking, clothes, music, eyewear, techno gizmos - the whole shebang. 

He intends to... sell everything, to everyone.
Oh dear.
Marketing 101, out of the window.
If you try to be all things to everyone, you'll be seen as nothing to no-one.
And so it's proved.
Especially because, Tesco does not know WHO their customer is.
And, even if they THINK they know WHO their customer is, their LOYALTY card system isn't doing its job.
Because look, the proof is in the fact that there are 1 million LESS visits to Tesco stores a week.
That equates to £25 per customer that's danced out of the stores.
The problem with Tesco is they're trying to be an Amazon equivalent, though with no personality behind the whole experience.
Sure, we may not know Jeff Bozos personally, though we do have more of an affinity with Amazon than we
may with a Tesco.
The name of the game is making the experience a really good one for a customer.
>>> It's having the customer feel inside; I like this place and I'm committed to this being my local retail hangout.
>>> It's about having shop floor staff being unprecedentedly AMAZING in their commitment to help and serve the customer.
>>> It's about CREATING amazing offers that aren't necessarily based on 'lowest price in town' as is the case with Morrisson's and their promotions about being cheap cheap cheap... which in turn, brings on many other problems
>>> It's about listening to a customer and finding out what's having them NOT come into the stores.
>>> It's about creating a USP that distinctly differentiates Tesco from all other players in the same market space.
>>> It's about creating infectious, personality driven marketing, communications, adverts.
The above will help Tesco.
Maybe if this mail gets to the head honchos in Tesco HQ, they'll think about employing these strategies and 
will in turn, want to hire me to help them strategise and implement!
Importantly for YOU;
What can you take from here and employ into your business to fix what Tesco, hasn't yet?
P.S Did you know that it's reported one of the biggest drops in revenue for a business is by staff, STEALING?  With Tesco, being the mammoth Goliath it is, it wouldn't surprise anyone if there's mucho currency being shoveled into the pocketsof Tesco employees by way of produce. 

Friday, 4 April 2014


Here's an email, received today, 4th April.


Spring Sale Starts This Weekend
Dear Valued Customer,
I thought I would take the time to let you know our Spring Sale starts this weekend.
We have some mouth-watering special offers on new orders and some end of line showroom clearance models that offer fantastic value for money

We do hope to have the pleasure of seeing you in our store in the near future
The Director
Now I receive a mail from this Furniture and Design company, maybe three times a year... whenever they have a sale and want money.
So I ask myself the question ; 
How valued AM I, when all I receive is a boringly written, 'we've a sale' email?  

Pathetic, really.

And make note of the language - for example -  "I thought I would take the time to let you know our Spring Sale starts this weekend"...
I mean, who cares? Who really cares if THEY Have taken the time to tell us that they've a sale on.
It's as if they're doing me a special favour to interrupt my life to let me know there's a sale, because they want money. 
How boring, bland and horribly typical of most businesses to communicate in such a non valuable way!
It's all about THEM.
How different would it be if I was told something like... 
Dear Valued Customer,
Looking at our past records, it looks like your last purchase was a XXXXXXX. We hope you we're really thrilled with your XXXXXXXXXXXXXX and it's given you so much pleasure since buying.
I wanted to write to let you know that we've actually overstocked on a range that's really quite complementary to your previous purchase and so because of that, we wanted to invite you to a special viewing for our VIP customers.
If you bring this email with you on XXXXXX and you decide that you'd like to purchase anything you see on the evening, we'd love to give you a special 25% VIP saving, as well as giving you an extra special gift just for coming along.
We'd really love to see you on XXXXXXXXXXXX
Does something like that communication make you feel more valued than the first email?
Is it more inviting, more appealing, more chance of you coming to the store and buying, then the first communication? 
Well, it's that VERY DIFFERENCE in the written communication that makes ALL the difference in sales, profits, in having continual happy delighted customers.
Alas, although most business have great products and services, they're woefully inept at communicating in a way that makes the customer value what's on offer, that makes the customer feel valued, appreciated and acknowledged.


Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Tell The Truth... Most Marketing is Absolutle DRIVEL!

It's sad that grown men on a football pitch have to dive and feign their injuries in order to get another player sent off or, to have their roll over antics win a penalty or a free kick.

It's disgraceful and it IS point blank stealing and they should be called up on it by their own team, coach, manager, board.

Same point in with most marketing.

It's, on the whole, desperate and moronic, wobbling along hoping no-one will notice the sheer madness in it.


Someone had to create it. Someone had to agree it. Someone paid for it.  Someone got paid to create it.

And still, this INCOMPETENT diving practice is still in full flow and shows no sign of abating.

In fact, it's getting worse.

Want instant proof?

Simply turn on the radio in the morning and listen to the incredible 'funny, humour drivel' masquerading as marketing. It IS an utter waste of money and delivers a bad reputation for the client.

Really good marketing communications is all about showing (communicating) the benefits, the pleasure and the results the product or service will do for the client. 

That's pretty much it.

Communicate THAT and you're pretty much sailing in profitable waters because most do every other thing, but that.  

It seems troubling for most to do the fundamentals.

And of course, looks like most in the marketing and advertising game seems to want to have their name up in lights and have the heavy back slapping and so go to crazy creative lengths to get noticed, with results of course (the money being made) being something that's put on the back burner and left to simmer at some other later time.

If you're a professional marketer, an owner of a business, a CEO, someone who welds the axe in your enterprise, use the swift sword on ANYTHING to do with marketing and advertising designed to sell, that cannot be made measurable, that cannot justify its reason for being created, that cannot provide a customer an irresistible reason or offer to choose what you have to sell or promote.

Carry out a commitment to perform this one single exercise and you WILL see your enterprise become MORE profitable than you'd believe possible.   


Sunday, 2 February 2014

Fireproof Safes at £2K a Pop. Direct Mail Letter Produces... ZERO Sales

I asked the owner of company selling Fireproof safes, to show me the direct mail letter that was sent at out at a total marketing cost of 10K - a letter that produced ZERO sales. (That's what she told me in conversation)

Of course, she declined.

Too busy sheltering the fragile ego of the person she got to create the mailing, too intent in saving her own face by protecting her own reasons for hiring the nincompoop marketing help in the first place. 

You would have thought that if a mailing piece doesn't work, that you'd be open, would get help in fixing it, especially when you've paid out 10k for NO results whatsoever. (And, they will  probably roll out the same weak effort at another time, still being none the wiser as to WHY the thing flopped)

But no. That's not the case with the many dumb companies and businesses run with people who have no earthly idea what they're doing -- they have zero interest in testing different options in order to get different results.

Here's THE secret to sales, advertising and marketing success. 

So long as a product or service is sound and has quality embedded inside it, and so long as the mailing is directed and targeted to THE most ideal prospect, the 'killer marketing app' that'll bring home the bacon is good old compelling, irresistible, salescopy.

And yes, there's weak, generic salescopy and, there's direct response salescopy.   

My guess is the salescopy for the fire proof safe was possibly heavily feature driven, logical, boring (probably ZERO romancing the stone), no real offer, no strong call to action, no intrinsic or inherent value or education gained by reading the letter, no reasons why the product is demonstrably superior compared to all others, probably tried to sell the thing right off the letter instead of a number of alternatives, no incentives or gifts for taking the next step, no follow up mailings, no real goal for what the wanted the letter to actually, do.

That's not 100% certain of course. Though, it could be closer to the mark than not.    

Hot salescopy IS the fuel lacking in most businesses selling any product or service you could probably name.

IT tools, software, data, CRM systems.. they're all rendered useless without the necessary & effective, sales driven COPY created to SELL the product or service.

Think about the pre-internet age and even, the pre-computer age; money was made by selling products via sales letters written on typewriters with carbon paper and sticky 'f' keys.

The MEDIA was different though what was the COMMON DENOMINATOR then, and NOW, to greater sales IS... irresistible, direct response salescopy.   

Sales plummeting or at a standstill? Want to create MORE sales through powerful, effective salescopy?

Get my Direct Response Marketing & Copywriting Report that'll help you to fix things.


Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Poor Ad and Marketing Results Comes From Lack of Truth & Integrity

Ask those who create the ad and marketing promotions that fizzle, you'll get a number of excuses as to WHY the whole thing flopped.

Of course, none of those excuses or reasons, would be zeroed in, or targeted at, the creators of the flop.

The MESS, naturally, belongs to others.


However, with careful sleuth like investigation, if we dig deep, we'll uncover a few hidden truths.

For example; if those responsible for creating the non-productive, were asked exactly on what basis did they create the promotion, there'll probably be a lack of successful models that would have been referred to. You may instead, get a messy summary of how 'their creative minds' were looking for that compelling hook and it just wasn't right because of XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX - and you can fill in X with whatever you want because that's exactly what it would be filled in with...

...whatever they could come up with!  

There's a disciplined science behind creating advertising and marketing that... WORKS.

And, it's NOT by scratching one's head and saying..." LET'S TRY THIS, IT SEEMS LIKE A GOOD IDEA". - which seems to be the avowed strategy and mantra of the dull and lazy.

Of course, if it's client money on the line and NOT the advertising or marketing people's money, then... anything goes (Which invariably means... a lot of client money gets flushed down the toilet with the client being none the wiser because there's (obviously!) no tracking or accountability as to how the advertising and marketing performs from a money and sales standpoint)

That's not true for the savvy, switched on, responsible marketer or agency team of specialists who are focused on results, on positive ROI - and NOT on winning awards, applause and accreditation for 'outstanding' work.

These people refer to models of past success. They refer and read the (classic) books on salesmanship and accountable-based marketing and advertising. (Tested Ad Methods by John Caples, Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins, The Robert Collier Letter Book by Robert Collier, Ogilvy on Advertising and Confessions of an Ad Man, both by David Ogilvy, How to Write a Good Advertisement by Vic Schwab, Secrets of Successful Direct Mail by Dick Benson...)

They tell the TRUTH about the product or service in an enjoyable and irresistible way.

The whole creative aspect is based on (and driven by) customer, product and company Integrity.

And what does INTEGRITY mean in this context? It means standing for something, honouring your word (by that, I mean telling the truth about what the company does and what the product or service actually does for the user) and delivering the message in a way that captivates, engages and... SELLS.

Most advertising and marketing doesn't match up to that because the creators of such efforts don't match up to owning much of that themselves - truth and integrity.


Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Big Brand Advertising Stupidity (McCains)

Another vast display of big brand stupidity, lacklustre imaginations and big money waste.

This time, McCains.

Look at this full page newspaper ad in today's paper.

The creative sparks at the ad agency advertising and promoting McCain's chips, came up with this masterpiece to get us, hopefully, to buy 'happy days'.

How incredibly UN-original.

It's no wonder small and medium sized businesses are in a marketing and advertising mess because of emulating the big Company waste and sloth in creating 'brand building advertising'.

Now McCains may be already doing great business, (and yes, their chips are great) but wouldn't they be even more profitable if they had smart, savvy, direct response marketing replacing this image type idiocy?

They're settling for advertising and marketing mediocrity. Maybe even less than that! (That's what happens when you have a bundle of money to throw at an ad agency - because in return, they'll invariably throw a lot of tripe back, with no-one really made accountable or really concerned about where the money went)  

If those responsible for creating this, and the various New Year McCain's advertising promotions for their chips, had THEIR own money on the line, they'd rethink what they'd originally thunk. They'd be doing what they can to come up with the best, most profitable advertising they could create.


So how would direct response fix this waste-of-money ad?

By having readers cut out a try'n buy coupon, by driving them to a website for special offers, by getting people to submit they most 'happy meal McCain combination' with a prize for entering AND, a big splash prize for the winner, by tracking what ad created what results.

Alas, they (McCains and their hired marketing muscle) don't GET that the business IS in creating a customer that stays, and therefore buys, for life. 

No better way to do that than by engaging them and then, communicating to them regularly - and NOT with riddle based junk and snappy slogans that we 'hope' a reader, prospect, foodie, will somehow decipher, make sense of and then, have a long lasting affinity and love affair with us.

That's the hit' n hope school of marketing wizardry.

There are plenty of subscribers and attendees in that school. We just need look around at the advertising and marketing incompetence we see all around us to find that to be, right on the money.    

Products, businesses, companies... all have to continually earn the custom of their consumers, regularly. Taking readers, prospects and customers for granted... by delivering nonsense based advertising, devoid of any kind of offer, without any deadline or timeline to respond, with sloppy or non existent advertising copy, without any means of tracking how much the ad was responsible for sales and customers... is all lazy, incompetent and therefore, a less profitable solution.



Saturday, 11 January 2014

Fix The PRODUCT LIES And HYPE And You'll Fix Bad Marketing Karma

With $10m a year in sales in his current business, Anik Singal, reveals that his fortune is based on a SPECIFIC marketing tool, email.

AND he goes on to suggest that it's easy to create a successful business based on his simple email business model, something that anyone can follow. 

He proclaims that it's easy to get a 40% opt-in rate compared of course, to the 50 or 60% he gets on his opt-in pages, thanks no doubt to very expensive, and accurate analytical information to create such wizardry.

He goes on to display a financial model where he shares that it's pretty simple to get 125 subscribers a month, and then 250 subscribers the next month, etc, majority by free traffic methods.

And, he goes on to tell that when you get those subscribers it's the automation and technology that takes over by having your emails sent out in a timed and on a sequential basis, with the money being made in selling those subscribers via a link in an email to a product, ones own product, or an affiliate product.


Here's the 'drive through so you can't detect it line' in his promotion product launch for the product.

You just quickly write a few lines in your emails which then drives subscribers to buy...



What does that mean?

It means WHATEVER media you use; email, direct mail, postcards, sales-letters, printed adverts, video, Fax... whatever you use to make sales or to get a response in some way, the COPY, the words you use, what you say, how you say what you say, is CRUCIAL to the response you receive.

You CANNOT send a blank email and expect RESULTS that will build your business up to $10m a year. You've got to KNOW what you're writing INSIDE that email -- or other media.

The WRITING is the KEY ASSET and NOT so much the media. That's because you can transfer the advertising or communication message from one media to the next.

And, it certainly DOESN'T come by quickly writing a few simple lines.

Naturally of course, Singal would rather you didn't dig too much into that idea that the WRITING isn't anything too complicated, because he's selling a BUSINESS SYSTEM that works on a very simple formula that he's using to generate huge numbers so... you can too... and he'd rather you didn't see the joins!

(KEY: He has most likely paid expensive direct response copywriters a fat amount to create the various SELLING MESSAGES in the variety of media used in the launch. And, he'll most likely sell a ton of stuff to dreamers, hopers... the emotional NON DOERS who are magnet to hype and the promise of the 'easy-button-life', formula)          

I had to carefully think, strategise and plan when creating a series of promotions that were read and then acted on by thousands of customers who then generated (as of this writing) 6 million pounds in sales for clients of the service.

I did NOT simply skip by it and leave the writing of the promotions to guesswork, chance or the tooth fairy. I had to put myself and the promotions through a structured process and plan. I had to choose the most appropriate words, whilst putting the whole series of promotions into context.

It takes WORK. And, not some magic-push button formula that does everything for you.      

Never forget it; the ability to write a compelling and responsive sales message - NO MATTER WHAT THE MEDIA FORMAT - is the KEY ASSET in ANY BUSINESS.    


Tuesday, 7 January 2014

OPTICAL EXPRESS -- Sloppy, Confused Text Communication Marketing

You would think BIG companies would hire 'marketing people' who know how to think, how to structure a simple communication.

SADLY, it generally seems to be the case that the BIGGER the company, the DUMBER they are.

Here's a mobile marketing message received, today, 7, Jan 2014 at 12.16pm London time, from OPTICAL EXPRESS;

Are you the laser eye surgery winner?
Reply EYES to enter at standard text cost.
Draw entry free. To opt out reply STOP.

To me, the opening suggests I've ALREADY been entered, and, their opening question would then lead to let me know what to do next to find out IF I am the winner.

But no.

They're now asking me to ENTER the competition!

Mixed messages cause confusion.

In the recipient's mind. As well as thinking how confused the sender, is. (Which consciously or unconsciously, has one thinking if the service or product to be delivered, will also be a catalogue of mixed confusion as well)

It would have been a more congruent message all round if the simple line;

Could you be the laser eye surgery winner? ... was written.

And how about the line  -- Draw entry free.

That could be made better, more fluid, more pleasing to the eye by saying... FREE to enter.

And how about the HappyNewYou ending?

How about a timely Happy New Year, instead. 

Simple words, structured well, matter. A LOT.

However, it's the thinking that precedes the action so THAT'S what needs fixing.

Don't settle for incompetent, sloppy, cant-be-bothered advertising and marketing in YOUR business, no matter what size it is, no matter how profitable you currently are. It WILL cost you sales and customers.